Father and Son Sigs Climb 14,000 Foot Peaks

Delta Delta brothers Dave Westerbeck ’83 and his son, Zach ’14, have found a strenuous way to share time together by climbing 14,000 foot beaks in Colorado and California.  Dave commented, “My trips with Zach started when he was a young boy in elementary school. We would take fishing trips to remote areas of Canada together.  These trips were awesome – just Zach and me in a boat for hours. We both have so many fond memories of those trips, we wanted to find a way to continue to share time together, now that Zach and his wife, live hundreds of miles from our home in Indianapolis.”

Huron Peak, Colorado 2000

Dave (left) and Zach Westerbeck at the top of Huron Peak in Colorado.

Their first hike together took place in 2020 just as Covid hit.  Zach thought planning a hiking trip would work because we’d be outside, and there would be fewer COVID restrictions.  As their planning came together, they decided that hiking a 14,000-foot peak in Colorado would be memorable.

According to Dave, “It was very memorable. We rented a four-wheel drive truck to have more access to the trailhead to Huron Peak, and then it was “game on.”  It was such an incredible experience together.  While our hike was at a lower altitude, our conversation focused on the beauty around us and how happy we were to do this together.  As we progressed into the higher altitude and a steeper climb, Zach coached me to the summit; I would have never been able to summit it without his encouragement.  It was cold and cloudy at the top, so we didn’t spend a long time there.  We were lucky enough to get a quick break in the clouds to see some of the peaks around us.”

Breckenridge, CO  2021

Dave noted, “Zach and I had milestone birthdays in 2021 – he turned 30, and I turned 60.  For our birthday celebration, we wanted the family to hike a 14k peak together in Breckenridge, CO.  Zach’s fiancé, my wife, and our daughter hiked Mount Democrat, and 4/5 of us made it to the summit.  The funny part of this is our daughter didn’t make it, and she was the youngest in the group.  The weather at the top was beautiful, so we lingered, enjoying the beauty and taking pictures.  Unfortunately, a thunderstorm developed, so the dissent was at a bit of a sprint.”

Dave (left) and Zac show their Sigma Chi pride at the top of their hike in Big Bear, CA.

Big Bear, CA  2022

“For the last few years,” Dave commented, “Zach has asked me to do a camping/hiking trip. While I love to hike, I also enjoy the comforts of a hotel room, so I continued to decline the offer politely.  Then earlier this year, it hit me, my son wants to do a trip with just me, and I’ve been saying NO. Once I had this epiphany, we planned our trip to the Big Bear area in California.”

The campfires at night were a great time to laugh and share stories of the day and how happy they each were to be able to share these types of moments.  During the hikes Dave notes that they intentionally avoid talking about work.  They reminisce over past trips and adventures and the bonds that were developed through Sigma Chi with their pledge brothers and others.

Dave reflected, “Zach got married in October 2021, and several pledge brothers and a Sig from James Madison University were in the wedding. I was Zach’s Best Man – what a privilege.  I have been blessed to have Zach as my son/brother and hope we will have many more trips ahead.”

2 Responses to “Father and Son Sigs Climb 14,000 Foot Peaks”

Gregg Westerbeck 1980

Good times my brothers.

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Michael Espenlaub 1977

this was a very interesting and inspiring story especially about the part when Dave did not want to go on the climb in California but then decided to go. It was a great story and one that will stay with Zach and Dave forever. Dave you were not too far behind me 202 Littleton. What a great way to go through school. God speed to both of you.

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